It’s not always easy to be yourself.
Maybe you can relate to this. I’m in a café with a cup of tea. It’s funny actually. There’s a trendy wooden table beside me. As I sit to write the first words of this blog project, in my head I hear the voices of writers I’m reading and speaker types famous for dumb one-liners. They are a crowded group in a room somewhere in my brain, an indecipherable rumble. “No Chad. Be you. Find your voice. Don’t write like them.”
It’s not easy to find your voice in this culture that we live in.
Do you realize that you are literally bombarded with outside influences? Be that. Do that. Buy that. I once read that the average person sees thousands of adds every day asking you and me to do what it wants or be what it wants. Everyday I drive by a billboard with a perfectly fit young man modeling a red American Apparel t-shirt. The image pops off the white background. I think, “I should buy that.” I don’t even realize it. I’ve been influenced unconsciously. Was I in control of that or someone else?
Reach inside. Be you. Don’t be anything else. Ignore the voices.
We’re in after school programs or during school programs (and often both) because we believe in students and their ability to be happy and great with their lives. The best leader you can be is impacted by your ability to find your voice and leadership style. Should we observe others and learn from them? Absolutely. We should also find out what students are into, and learn. No doubt about it. But, the best tool in your toolbox is you. Students know if we really care and the greatest deposit we can leave is that they are loved.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
The discovery of you can’t be found by looking outside of you. “Out there” will give us no insights of who we are. Who you are is within. And no one can make the journey for you but you. Love students, be you, and have fun. Oh, and see lives change before your eyes.
For breakfast, I had French roll cut for French Toast. Light syrup with strawberries. Homemade. Protein shake and vitamins.
This post originally appeared on the Breakfast Club Blog on August 31, 2011.